In late February, a winter storm hit Texas causing freezing temperatures. In some regions, power outages occurred ahead of the winter storm. For other regions, power outages occured as a result of the winter storm. For homeowners and renters, insurance coverage for damage to homes and property depends on what originated the damage: the freeze or the power outage.
Will my insurance cover damage due to the winter storm?
That depends on what occurred first — the freeze or the power outage by the power company.
Most homeowners and renters insurance policies are named peril policies, meaning you’re only covered for perils that are explicitly named in your policies. Named peril coverage includes 16 perils, such as fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, and freezing.
An open (all) peril policy covers just about anything that might happen including named perils, unless your policy specifically notes that it’s not covered. Open peril policies offer more coverage than a named peril policy. For example, if water damage is from a burst pipe, it could fall under the perils “sudden, accidental, cracking or tearing” or “freezing” or “windstorm,” according to Steve Wilson, senior underwriting manager at Hippo Insurance.
In Texas, some areas were first hit by the freezing weather that caused pipe bursts and water damage before the power outage. In that instance, it’s more than likely your claim would be covered under a named peril. For other parts of Texas, the power company outage happened before the freeze. Unfortunately, that may not be covered, because standard homeowners insurance only covers named perils — unless you purchased additional riders for sewer lines, electrical outage, or you have an open peril policy that doesn’t exclude it.